Technology has been good for business in the past decade or so. It was the high octane fuel that energized the recovery from the recession in 2008. But with slowing growth and messy global politics, tech has taken a bit of a backseat this year.
But its relevance for success in business is unassailable. It still remains the go-to option when you want to gain a decisive edge on the competition. But the thing with tech is – it never stays motionless, Progress is fast and relentless, and organizations are always playing catch up.
As new techs rise and others fade into oblivion, here are five tech trends/facts of 2019 which are having a say in the boardroom of enterprises large and small:
1. 5G is Fast, and Going Mobile
As far as wireless communications go, big things are expected from 5G. With promised speeds that are anywhere from 10 to 100 times greater than 4G, there is plenty of excitement about the rollout of this new network spectrum.
Let that sink in. Hopefully, it will not fry our brains
And it is not just about shaving off seconds or even minutes from your movie and Netflix downloads. There is plenty more at stake behind 5G, and it has everything to do with reduced latency.
Latency is what creates that irritating lag or delay when you transmit data between devices. You can see it when a video is buffering, and also when you play online multiplayer games. With 5G, the lag could soon become history, with massive business implications.
Driverless cars could become safer than ever with 5G networks. Other futuristic stuff like advanced robots and AI could all get a developmental boost from this tech. With both fixed and mobile 5G expected to go mainstream from 2020 onwards, businesses have a lot to ponder on.
2. Blockchain Continues to Evolve and Confound
The underlying tech behind bitcoin and other cryptos have been hyped for the past decade as the technology that will transform the future of how we do everything online. Ten years on, cryptocurrencies continue to remain the best implementation of blockchain technology.
Given the open hostility shown by governments towards bitcoin, even that faces considerable challenges. But that does not mean that blockchain is a failed experiment. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
It still has tremendous potential to improve everything from banking to e-commerce, transportation, and more. But at the time being, startups are still trying to harness the power of blockchain for financial markets and other sectors as well.
But one segment that absolutely loves crypto-tech is online gambling. Given the security and privacy advantages, online casinos have embraced bitcoin and other blockchain currencies as the way to the future. There are now no deposit guide sites around the world that detail who offers and who does not provide blockchain technology.
One of the problems with blockchain is probably that it is too sophisticated, way ahead of the curve. But that hasn’t stopped banking and finance companies from investing heavily in blockchain research. This is one to space to watch for the future right now.
3. Smart AI to Replace Humans in Customer Relations
We are still years or decades away from Terminator-level AI. If you want any proof, just take a look at the mess created by chatbots just a few years ago. The sad thing about these bots was that they were not really smart or engaging.
But forward to 2019 and that has changed, and how! When you have seen big banks using chatbots to handle customers at their physical locations, you can pretty much declare that technology has arrived.
These rapid strides have been made possible by advances in fields like natural language processing. Voice assistants like Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant have become an integral part of our digital lives due to this same reason.
We can expect more and more enterprises to adopt chatbots and other similar AI implementations to cut costs and deliver a better experience to their customers in 2019.
4. IoT Devices Continue to Grow, With More Risks
With processors getting smaller than ever and mobile networks getting faster, we are in an era when even teacups and spoons are getting “smarter.” This is the era of the Internet of Things (IoT). It may now be restricted to a few smart lights, locks, and thermostats, but that is just the consumer market.
At the enterprise level, this tech has plenty to offer in terms of safety, productivity, and accountability. Logistics and supply chain management will forever be changed by the addition of smart sensors. We are already seeing fleets of vehicles fitted with IoT devices across the world.
Now with 5G being rolled, the world of IoT will only continue to grow. And this will bring with it a plethora of security risks. Anything that can connect to the internet could become a potential victim of a cyber attack.
With billions of new devices added each year, the number of soft targets also keep increasing manifold. Security companies have their task cut out here. More robust security protocols are needed if IoT is to reach its true potential.
5. Augmented Reality (AR) to Trump Virtual Reality (VR)
We see this in sport often – the unheralded understudy stealing the thunder from its superstar teammate. In fact, it is being played out right now in Formula 1 motorsports, in the Ferrari team. The same way, pure VR is being increasingly seen as a hit or miss tech.
In its place, AR seems to hold more promise, as it offers a bit more balance, combining the real with the virtual world. This tech is showing great promise in a lot of situations, like employee training, tourism, design and engineering, logistics, retail shopping, and more.
Google may have been a bit too early in releasing its failed Google Glass project. But with the technology maturing now, we can see it making a successful comeback. Businesses are the main target this time, and they will continue to be for manufacturers of similar AR-enabled devices.